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100gal Wild Discus Biotype - Rimless 48x24x20

32972 Views 149 Replies 63 Participants Last post by  Matt
After going back and forth on tanks I finally decided on one. Heres my journel of sorts, not a planted tank but one hopefully you can appreciate. Its been going on since August, just now posting it here. This is my Rome, and i'm NOT building it in a day. All criticisms, suggestions, comments are welcome.

Here is the rundown:
Tank: 48x24x20 Rimless/braceless (except bottom rim) with 1/2" glass and polished edges. Approx 100gal
Stand:Homemade 2x4 and 2x6 as usual. Skinned and stained in a darker walnut.
Filtration:2x Eheim Classic 2217
Lighting:DIY LED fixture
Substrate:Pool filter sand
Decor:Manzanita wood, small rocks, maybe a little leaf litter?, and possibly some floating plants
Fish: 8 Wild discus (Cuipeua/Curua Alenquers), 6 Mesonauta acora, Biotodoma for the bottom? Geos?

The Tank - As said above its going to be a 48x24x20 (100gal approx) custom rimless tank that will be made by a Canadian company (Miracles in Glass) and shipped to me. Surprisingly US companies I checked with charge almost twice as much for tank and freight as this Canadian company, and it has a good rep among reefers (good quality and service). It will have Starphire front and side panels and all edges will be polished smooth. Kind of stoked about it. I debated going with a 60x20x20, but I really wanted to be able to utilize 3 visible sides, and the 48" tank afforded me that. Also I find the increased width adds more to the tank then say adding more height, thats why I chose the 48x24x20. I wanted to stay as low on gallons as possible, but still have a big tank. So I opted to go 100gals and not 120gal. Still should be a very nice footprint to work with regardless and offer plenty of room for the fish.

The Stand - Home built from the usual suspects, 2x4 and 2x6. Will be my first attempt at skinning a stand with plywood, I usually leave them bare skeletons. I'd like to skin it and then stain the wood a nice darker a walnut. Still not 100% sure, as I don't have much experience doing this and don't have a lot of tools at my disposal. Things like doors are still being thought out, might just make a whole panel removable and use magnets.

Filtration - 2 Eheim 2217 classics. Simple and easy, will be getting clear tubes for them so they will become almost invisible. I figure I can always tweak them and turn them down, you can always decrease flow, never increase. I really didn't want to mess with a sump for this tank, thats why its not drilled and there is no overflow. Like I said, simple and easy....thats the best way to keep discus. I might regret my decision if I ever turn this into a reef....but as of now, meh.

Lighting - Custom DIY LED build. 9 Cree Warm Whites and 2 Cree Cool Whites (moonlights). I was going for an amazon blackwater look so I didn't want blue tinted lights. The warm whites are a perfect yellow/white color. The cool whites will be dimmed and be my moonlights. White moonlights like in the real world, not cheesy blue lights like you would see in a rave club. ;)

Fish - The Wild discus and Mesonauta acora are already locked on. As far as other fish I'm thinking maybe a couple Biotodoma for the bottom? I would really like some Satanoperca, but they might outgrow my tank. I'm open to suggestions for species to use, going for as close to biotype as I can (Without getting to crazy with type localities and stuff) but as long as the discus don't mind I won't mind. I want something to just kind of clean up the bottom and still provide some activity. Push comes to shove i'll look at getting some Sterbai cories, but they are not biotypical so leaving them out for now.

I can't guarantee the exact replication of the pictures below, my design work is better then my carpentry or DIY work. However I will try my hardest. Not worried about the skeleton of the stand, the part that worries me is the skin around it, never really skinned a stand, attached molding, or doors, or made anything fancy before so it should be interesting. This tank will be in my bedroom, here's a almost to scale replica to show its position against the wall, next to my rack of breeders. (The bottom of my bed is not wood...I just thought it looked better that way. Easier to distinguish.

You'll notice I did not add any trim or doors to the stand, to lazy. And the light bar is made from bent electrical conduit, easy DIY. It will be attached with brackets to the back of the stand, or the wall. The controls on the left side is the power center. Just an array of switches so i can flip a switch instead of unplugging a heater for water changes.

Heres the tank once I received it. Props to Derek at Miracles Aquariums, great looking tank. Heavy, but great.

Heres the light. I used thermal sticky pads rather then thermal paste, easier.

Then stick the LED stars to those and solder them all up (wire them)!

And here is the finished product

The nerve center. Everything is quick disconnect, and I still need to attach the pot on the left side. Its not as complicated as it looks. Each button and plug control one string of lights. And they are all dimmable.

And thats it for now. I've bent the conduit to hang the light but no pictures yet. Looking back I think I should of used 3/4" conduit instead of 1/2" but it will work. Now you are all caught up and i'll keep this up to date!
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looks like you got a good project going
nice work!
nice work, l like the dimmensions of the tank. l got a feeling those are gonna be some happy discus in the near future going from the effort you're putting into the tank. Will be keeping an eye out for this one.
Very nice! I like the lights that you put together. The glass makes it look very classy.
Thanks all. Swissian, thats actually plexiglass. ;)
Lets see some pics of the light on!
im excited for this one! i have thought of doing about the same thing!
can you link me to where/how you did your CREE light?

and where'd you get that aluminum??
Lets see some pics of the light on!
I'll try and get some tomorrow, its BRIGHT. I just have the warm whites, and only 9 of them and I keep asking myself how these reef guys have 24+ of the cool whites together....that must be instant blindness.

im excited for this one! i have thought of doing about the same thing!
Thanks, I'm excited for it.

can you link me to where/how you did your CREE light?

and where'd you get that aluminum??
Alluminum heatsink came from I went with the 8.4" profile 24 inch. Its thinner then the 10 inch profile I was first leaning towards.

I don't follow when you say where/how I did the LEDs. How did I attach/wire them or where did I get them? The LED stars and optics came from Cheapest place I could find the Warm whites.

The light I wanted to keep very simple. No controller or any of that craziness, everything quick disconnect, plug it in and flip a switch, very easy. I think the hardest part of this part of the project was tapping the aluminum after you drill it. And the only reason I needed to tap it was to get the spacers in to hold the plexiglass shield. If you haven't soldered before that might prove to be a bit difficult, but get a good quality iron not the small battery ones and its easy. I'll take more pictures when I can, I actually have 3 computer fans to sit on top of the heatsink to provide some active cooling in a push pull setup. Mounted those by bending more plexiglass, really cool effect IMO its like the fans are floating.
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Yea this light is super cool. I think it has inspired me to build a 24 LED one for my tank!
Looks great so far. Without a top, you're not worried about suicide jumpers?
Looks great so far. Without a top, you're not worried about suicide jumpers?
Agreed! Looks great :) Also concerned about jumpers... Discus tend to be very easily spooked and without a top, you may come home to a very upsetting sight. I've read some nightmare stories on Simply Discus about jumpers.

I love Cuipeuas! VERY good strain choice, especially for a biotope :)
Looks like your off to a great start! Where U find the wild discus?
In my 10 years keeping discus i've NEVER had one jump. Never had a fish period jump out and all of my tanks are open top. If push comes to shove I can make a net for the top. Not a priority at this point.

The wild discus will be coming from Discus Hans, who imports them from Hudson (H&K).

Pictures are still coming, just haven't had time yet. I have these waiting also for the tank to bet setup. 6 of them, F1 mesonauta acora.

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Hans sells wilds now? I thought he only had the stendker line, ill have to revisit his site, its been a while. Also, discus are indeed notorious for getting spooked and a net can save you money with just a few dollars invested, especially if they are WC. Give them floaters and give them driftwood tannins ;-)
Yes, Hans imports from Hudson.

I know discus get spooked, I've just never had a problem with them, or other fish even other wild caught fish. Its definitely something to think about because it CAN happen...but I haven't had it happen in at least 10 years so its not high on the priority list at this point.
Stand is slow being built, been rainy here lately. Hopefully can put in some work tomorrow and Thursday on it. Heres the only update I have. I have 6 of these waiting for the new tank to be setup. They are F1 Mesonauta acora. Very very cool cichlid, great personalities.

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Sweet build, and great choice on wild discus instead of the glam varieties. bookmarked.

I tried festivums recently... they were lawnmowers on my prized swords and crypts. had to take them back. Hopefully you'll have better luck with those Mesonauta.
Great build so far! Are those acoras aggressive at all like most discus or are they similar to angelfish in behavior. Never seen an acora untill i saw it on your journal. looking for updates.
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